TGO: Day 43 of Flower
Colors, Terps, and Updated Guesses
Dear Friend & Premium Subscriber-
As you are may already be aware, my flower cycle is well underway and I wanted to share some updates on my competition efforts for The Grow-Off.
Thing #1 is putting off a very pleasant aroma, and her leaves are beginning to purple, starting from the fan leaves and working inward.
I am pleased to see these qualities stinging through, as bag appeal and terpene profile are both important to me in determining whether a cut stays around. As I have discussed with Nerds Genetics, the provider of the mystery competition cut, I am looking forward to my next cycle running this lady; the second cycle always gets a little better.
During this first effort, especially without any context of genetic preferences, I’ve had to adjust in real time to variables such as slower, lighter feeding rates, which I’ll be aware of, and prepared for in advance of, the next run.
For example, i’ve been feeding at a 2/3 strength since I noticed the plant was unhappy with full strength nutrients. The high concentration wasn’t what she wanted, so I dialed it back. In the next cycle, I’ll start at a lower strength, which will hopefully help maintain the growing momentum of the plant.
Even with reduced feeds, I noticed some burnt tips on the fan leaves, eventually leading to the leaves dying while the rest of the plant looked lush.
The problem? My soil was HOT. Because of the setup that I run (fabric pots on risers in saucers), I generally try to prevent excess runoff as it involves my sucking it out of the saucers with a shop-vac in order to avoid having standing water in the tents (standing water only attracts problems, especially at warmer temperatures).
Because the plants weren’t experiencing regular runoff, the heavy amount of feeds that I had initially input, compounded with the reduced feeds I was still adding, resulted in an overly-concentrated (HOT) substrate.
When I first noticed the issue with Zac Ricciardi of Biosafe, there were a few options on the table, including water borne pathogens that can be difficult and expensive to test for. Before jumping to conclusions, he advised me to take readings of the runoff after I fed and compare those with my inputs.
This Grow-Off cycle has taught me the value in having comprehensive metrics, including, now, a regular runoff measurement in addition to input metrics.
If there’s a significant buildup of nutrients in your substrate, your runoff will differ from your input; the bigger the difference, the more nutrients are stored up. The more nutrients stored in the soil, the harder it is for your plant to absorb them, leading to problems like lockout, root rot, etc. if left undiagnosed and unaddressed.
While the pH was within desired threshold, the EC of Thing #1’s runoff (output) was more than 3x the input, hence, the gradually burning leaves I was noticing.
The plant was getting all of the nutrients it needed and then some, which is why it was lush, but also experiencing issues. Problems compound, and super-saturation of nutrients can lead to the inability to uptake others. Had I not taken these readings, I would have continued to harm her, and potentially cause more issues to arise.
Having taken these readings, I’ll be feeding water-only (treated with Zerotol for pathogens) and TerraGrow feeds until these levels normalize.
Final Flower Trimester
As we kick off Week 7 and the final stretch towards harvest, I’m paying close attention to the nuances of this mystery plant.
I noticed one of the smaller branches appeared to be dying, despite another node on that branch remaining healthy. I decided to chop this growth. No point devoting nutrients to a sickly part of the plant when I want the reminder to be the best possible, and no reason to keep dying plant material in and around the tent. None of the other branches and nodes were affected.
I’ve also turned the light down ever so slightly, leading into a gradual decrease in intensity up until harvest.
The jury is out on the science on this, but I have heard multiple growers experience success and improvements in overall quality when gradually reducing from full strength to 70-80% intensity towards the end of flower, mimicking the natural clouds and overcast skies experienced during seasonal transitions. For me, this serves a dual purpose as I am growing a plant nearly double its size right next to Thing #1.
By lowering the light, I ensure that the Sour Papaya isn’t getting too much light while also testing to see if an overall decrease in intensity benefits the entire tent, including Thing #1.
As I grow under LEDs, the plants have remained rather compact, while still reaching towards the light as needed. The Sour Papaya has dominated the tent, and, for the next cycle, my hope is to have a more even canopy to provide this mystery genetic with slightly higher light intensity and see how that impacts development.
Terpenes & Appearances
I’ve noted previously that Thing #1 was putting off a similar terpene profile to Sherbadough, the Archive cross of Sunset Sherbet with Dosidos.
As I was taking notes for this update, I printed off a variety of terpene and aroma “tasting wheels” to assist in the process. These are commonly used in wine and whiskey tastings. I then took the scents and smells I had listed and compared them with those common of major terpenes.
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